by Matt Alderton | July 19, 2018
As a meeting professional, you've spent your career traveling to desirable places. As you near retirement, however, it's time to starting asking yourself: Would you like to actually live in one of them?

If the answer is "yes," there are some things you should begin thinking about, according to International Living magazine, which recently published a 10-step guide to retiring in Costa Rica. Whether you want to retire in Costa Rica, elsewhere in Latin America or somewhere else entirely, its suggestions can help you get all your ducks in a row.

First things first: Do your research. According to International Living, you should investigate things like cost of living, climate, quality of health care facilities, infrastructure, educational facilities, recreation and entertainment, safety and stability, cultural and outdoor activities, size of expat community, accessibility to the rest of North America and cost of real estate.

"We've met more than one expat who made a decision based on cheap real estate alone, and ended up unhappy," the magazine reports. "It's important to find a place that satisfies more than a few of the above priorities."

Once you have a short list of destinations that meet your criteria, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each. Two other things you should consider as you do, according to International Living: How easy or difficult it might be to obtain a visa and establish residency, and the impact on your taxes.

"When you move overseas, unfortunately your U.S. tax obligations do not get left behind," International Living says. "U.S. citizens are taxed on their income worldwide, so even though you may not be living and working in the U.S., you will still need to fill out a tax return each year. As an expat, you will be entitled to some tax breaks. So, get advice from a U.S. tax expert who knows about things like the income exemption for non-resident citizens and the benefits of an offshore corporation."

You also should talk to a tax professional in the country in which you're considering retiring, the magazine advises, "especially if you intend to invest, start a business or otherwise earn an income" there.

Finally, when retirement finally arrives, take a trial run before you pull the trigger. "Rent for six months to a year before committing to a destination completely," International Living says. "Renting allows you to check out a neighborhood before committing to it. It also allows you to check out different types of housing. If you decide to buy rather than rent, then do so with an eye to the property's re-sale potential."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.